CELTIC face Livingston in West Lothian on Sunday in the first of their eight-game obstacle course as they bid to win their twelfth title in 13 years.

If Brendan Rodgers requires any advice on how to plan ahead for the ultimate silverware success, he could ask club ambassador Davie Hay.

The Parkhead legend knows exactly what it takes to win the flag with the same amount of hurdles to overcome after successfully manoeuvring his way through soccer’s minefield to the finishing line to achieve the feat after a breathtaking finale to season 1985/86.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, the Hoops great, speaking to his long-time friend and author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the icon’s best-selling autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin ‘, details the extraordinary run-in to a tumultuous, topsy turvy campaign.

Hay told all in his life story which was published in 2009. Here is the eighth and concluding instalment of his recollections from his best-selling book.

The former player and manager, now 76, said: “The cheers in Paisley that greeted Celtic’s title win on the last day of the 1985/86 season had hardly died down when I was preparing the squad for the new crusade.

“We had all enjoyed the 34th championship success in the club’s history and now we were looking at adding to the silverwaare count.

“Pressure? Absolutely, but I welcomed it. The stress comes with the job description and I was in my office first thing on the following Monday morning to plan ahead for the inevitable challenges of another campaign.

DERBY DELIGHT…a joyous Roy Aitken reaches for the sky and is about to be congratulated by Murdo MacLeod after scoring against Rangers.

“That summer saw massive changes at Ibrox. Rangers had been well off the pace and that didn’t sit well with their hierarchy.

“Jock Wallace had been removed as manager and replaced by Graeme Souness. It appeared the new man in the Govan dug-out had been gifted a blank chequebook as he spent big money in the lead-up to the kick-off.

“Of course, Celtic had finished top of the pile and we had the trophy to prove it. Our old foes had completed the season in fifth place with Hearts, Dundee United and Aberdeen also ahead of them.

“Souness had been allowed to spend £750,000 in bringing in England captain Terry Butcher from Ipswich Town and another £600,000 on his international team-mate Chris Woods, the Norwich City goalkeeper. He had also paid out a ‘modest’ £200,000 for Watford striker Colin West.

“It was quite a shake-up and remember, too, that Souness was player/manager, so he wasn’t a bad acquisition, either, to the squad.

READ ALL ABOUT IT…the club’s thrilling 1985/86 title win is highlighted in Alex Gordon’s Celtic tribute book, ’50 Flags Plus One’, covering the first 51 crowns in the Hoops’ glorious history.  

“It was going to be a monumental task to hold onto our trophy because I could only dream about the sort of money my opposite number was splashing around in the transfer market.

“My big summer signing was left-back Anton Rogan from Irish club Distillery for about ten grand.

“It was good to see the Celtic board were taking note of what was happening across the road!

“There was an unfortunate inevitability of what happened next, but that’s a different story.”

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